Pandemic pollution dip benefits asthma sufferers
Portland State University research ties lower air pollution levels since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to fewer asthma-related problems.
more people. Staying and working at home translates to fewer cars on the roads and fewer planes in the air. It's a story about transportation. In large part, Vivek Shandez is an environmental scientists at Portland State University. He's been studying pollution across the city since the pandemic began. When the shelter at home order went into effect last March, Shandez tracked a dramatic reduction of at least one major pollutant. Nitrogen dioxide. In fact, what we're seeing the pollutant clothes in the Portland Metro region is that it was reduced by about 50% in April. About mid April. It was at its lowest that it's been. This map shows the changes in air pollution across both Oregon and Washington at that time. The blue color indicates a reduction in pollution, but since then levels of nitrogen dioxide have crept back up. But they're still way below what they were this time last year, and it's kind of leveled out more or less between 20 and 30% at this point, is what we're seeing. The question Are these reduced levels of air pollution having a positive impact on our health? Shandez Most recent research suggests they are. We were able to quantify the effect on respiratory health. The researchers looked at a number of asthma related health problems among Children on the West Coast. Comparing this year toe last year, they found a notable reduction in Washington. It's about a little over 50,000 and an organ. It's about 25,000 reductions in asthma exacerbations. A reduction in illnesses, the research suggests, equates to about $6 million in savings. All the more reason Shandez and his colleagues think it's important employers consider this work from home model even post pandemic, because taking steps now will help our planet's future. And our health pandemic is helping us learn, for example, that early and very strong action is very important to stave off some of the big impacts that might emerge. And Climate and the pandemic are very similar that way. In Portland, Keely Chalmers KGW News